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Build a Hand-Held Corn and Bean Planter

March 5, 2014

Planting beans and corn by hand is a pain.  It involves a lot of stoop labor and crawling around on the ground.  I don’t plant enough corn or beans to justify buying an automatic seeder, but I plant enough that it gets very old poking holes in the ground with my finger and dropping a seed into each hole.  I decided to build a hand seeder that would let me stand up to do this job and to, hopefully, make it go a little faster.  The results turned out pretty good, so you may want to build one of these if you find yourself in a similar circumstance. planter10

My seeder is basically just a piece of PVC tubing that I can drop a seed through to plant the seed in a hole.  The nice thing about this simple device is that it also makes the holes and spaces the seeds at the correct interval, and it only cost me about five dollars to build.  Here is how I built it:

 The main part of the planter is a piece of ½” PVC that is about 48” long.  You can make it longer or shorter depending on your height.  This tube is what you will drop the seed down to plant it.  To make the tube easier to use, I dropped down about eight inches from the top, cut the tubing, and glued in an inline-T fitting.  I glued about an eight inch long piece of tubing into the T to form a handle.  I glued a cap onto the end of the handle, but this is not really necessary. planter02

To add the seed spacer/hole poker to my planter I came up about six inches from the bottom of the planting tube and glued in another in-line T.  I glued a 5 ½” piece of tubing into this T and then glued an elbow onto the end of the tubing.  I then glued a piece of tubing that is about six inches long into the bottom of the elbow.  At the bottom of this tube I inserted a tapered wooden plug to do the actual hole poking.  The plug is made out of a piece of an old broom handle.  It goes up into the tubing about an inch and sticks out of the tubing about an inch-and-a-quarter. planter03

To hold the plug into the tubing I drilled a 3/16th hole through the tubing and the plug.  I then took a long, narrow bolt and cut the head off of it so that it is like a small piece of all-thread.  I put the all-thread through the hole, put a washer and nut on each side, and snugged them up to the tubing.  I left about an inch of all-thread sticking out on each side.  The all-thread serves as a depth gauge so that I know how deep to push the hole poker into the ground. planter04

The last thing I did was duct tape a small tin can up near the top of the planting tube.  This can is to hold the seeds that I am planting. planter05

The planter is easy to use.  You start a row by using the hole poker to make a planting hole. planter06

Now move the planter so that the planting tube is over the hole. planter07

Take a seed out of the seed can and drop it down the planting tube. planter08

Now press the hole poker down into the soil to make another hole that is six inches farther down the row. Use the all-thread depth gauge to make the hole the proper depth. planter11

Move the planting tube over the new hole, drop a seed, and so on, and so on, and so on.planter09


I plant beans six inches apart and corn twelve inches apart, so it is a simple matter to use the same planter for both types of seed.  I just plant the corn in every other hole.  I have found that this simple device saves me a lot of time and a lot of crawling around on my hands and knees.

  1. partha permalink

    nice,this give us a start for our project

  2. Ned Boudreaux permalink

    Thank you. I have a couple of suggested improvement ideas, but first I will build yours, then I will build mine.
    Ned Boudreaux

  3. shabro ehimika permalink

    good effort but attach a guage to send the seed down to the ground simultanously

  4. Ishmael permalink

    This is fabulous!
    Powerful out of the box ingenuity!
    Thank you!

  5. Deborah permalink

    Thank you for posting this awesome idea. I’ll be making one myself

  6. John Lee Pettimore permalink

    Beautiful in it’s simplicity. This is much easier to make, and to use than the first one I found doing a search.

  7. Walter Reeve R.S.A. permalink

    This was real simple! I am an African and think that this is a good basic start for people with back aches! Spinach I think can also be planted with this.

  8. Kaniel permalink

    This is simple and effective in every way possible.
    I will definitely make a prototype of this kind to be a basis for a further developed model

  9. Cathy permalink

    Great, great Idea! I had been using some type of wheeled device, seed planter, I got at Tractor Supply to plant my sunflower rows. It tended to allow too many seeds to drop out, a big waste of seeds. I was looking for something like this. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Drmpadma permalink

    Good and easy Idea 👍

  11. Drmpadma permalink

    Good and easy Idea to make seeder

  12. unclejoeblack permalink

    How do you ensure that the seed hole does not get clogged with soil more especially when the soil is a bit moist?🤔🤔🤔🤔

  13. My soil is a nice sandy loam that dries pretty quickly after a rain. Not too much clay. Clogging has not been a major problem although I occasionally have to tap the tube against my boot. On the occasions when clogging occurs too often, I wait a day or two for the soil to be right.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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  2. Tips for planting seeds easier this year – Ask Aggie

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